Proud City at Fountainbridge Library

Did you miss the Proud City exhibition when it was on display at the People’s Story Museum? You can now see a smaller pop-up version of the exhibition on display in Fountainbridge Library.


Proud City marks 10 years since the exhibition Rainbow City: Stories from Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Edinburgh opened at the City Art Centre.  Proud City provides an insight into LGBTQIA+ history and explores the lives of people living in Edinburgh today.

The touring exhibition features a small selection of objects from our collections as well as the specially commissioned film which was developed for the project. The exhibition will tour community venues and will travel to Stockbridge Library in January.

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Autumn update

I’ve not written for a while as the last couple of months have been very busy. However I wanted to share some of my autumn highlights.


Our Story launched at the Museum of Edinburgh on 10 November. Our Story is an exhibition which has been developed by Edinburgh Interfaith Association to tell the stories of the diverse faiths of Edinburgh. The exhibition has offered a great opportunity for us to get some of our religious collections out of storage. These are now displayed alongside items loaned by faith communities and photographs and oral histories telling the stories of people from different faiths. The exhibition will be on until 23 April.


On 12 October I was proud to talk about Proud City: LGBTQIA+ Edinburgh at the Museums Galleries Scotland conference with Alice Andrews from Glasgow Women’s Library. It was a very inspiring day and I loved hearing about other projects.

A small version of Proud City will also soon be on tour in local libraries. It will be installed into Fountainbridge Library on Thursday.


In October I took part in Luminate, running a day of activities with the Travelling Gallery at Kirkliston Library and offering a special Art in the City session at the Museum Collections Centre.

Art in the City also visited Songs for Winter at the City Art Centre this month. Below you can see some images of artworks in this wonderful exhibition by Pauline Burbidge and Charlie Poulsen.


Amongst all of these special events, other activities go on. I’ve worked with arts organisation Citizen Curator to run visits to the Museum Collections Centre. I’ve worked with artist Hans Clausen to offer activities linked to his project- The People’s Museum of Myth and Memory. I’ve visited Almond Mains Initiative and the Royal Infirmary to run reminiscence sessions. I’ve worked with several schools- including Royal Mile Primary and Bun-sgoil Taobh na Pàirce– and welcomed groups and researchers to the Museum Collections Centre.

I have also started supervising two lovely Museum Studies students from the University of St Andrews who will be helping to update our access audits.

Last but not least, I attended my first meeting as a Trustee for the Social History Curators Group. I am now the Web Editor and look after the website and social media for the group.

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Volunteer thank you party at Lauriston Castle

On Sunday we held a volunteer party in the beautiful setting of Lauriston Castle. Around 50 attended and took part in an afternoon offering tours of the castle, croquet and music.

Museums and Galleries Edinburgh offer a range of volunteering and student placements. These include: Assisting visitors and carrying out visitor surveys in exhibitions, running living history events, giving tours, assisting with outreach, carrying out collections research, researching access in our venues, documenting and inventorying collections, assisting with social media and many other roles.

You can find out more about Lauriston Castle and volunteering on our website.



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Updated handling boxes

Did you know that we have a range of handling boxes which can be borrowed for free by schools, community groups and care providers? These include loan boxes for schools and reminiscence boxes for older people’s groups.

There are boxes on a range of themes. Some of our most popular boxes for schools cover themes such as toys in the past, schooldays, World War II and the Victorians. Our reminiscence boxes cover themes such as childhood games, holidays, schooldays,  work, going out and life in the home.

Over the last couple of weeks I’ve been updating our handling boxes to make sure they are ready for the autumn. The Leisure and Going Out reminiscence box has now been completely redeveloped. One of my favourite objects is this Craven A cigarette tin. Inside the tin it says ‘Made specifically to prevent sore throats’. I love showing this to groups to start discussions about how attitudes to towards smoking have changed over time.

The box also contains some items of clothing, including real fur which really provokes discussion of societal attitudes. There are also some fascinating copies of Petticoat magazine, a women’s magazine from the 1960s and 70s. Some of the articles, adverts and fashion seem very modern, yet others would be unacceptable now or just simply old fashioned.

One of the more tame examples (some are not suitable for this blog) is this letter on the problem page. It is from a girl who is engaged and is worried that she isn’t as good at cooking as her soon-to-be mother-in-law.


Other objects include these hair curling tongs. These would be heated in a fire or gas hob and then used to curl your hair. Some older people’s groups have told me about burning your head or hair on these. Others have discussed ironing your hair (with a household iron)!

2017-07-10 15.50.41

One of the bigger tasks was updating the World War II loan box for schools and reminiscence box for older people’s groups. Both now have new material, images and notes.

One of my favourites is this mystery object.

Do you know what it is?…. (answer below)

2017-08-14 10.22.18

This is a button stick for polishing buttons and badges. You slide it around the button to stop the fabric underneath getting dirty.

If you are interested in finding our more about our handling boxes please see our website or contact me at or 0131 529 6365.

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Fantastic summer exhibitions

Regular followers will know I usually blog about my work. However I’d like to take time in this blog to talk about some of the amazing free exhibitions on this summer, as well as giving a bit of an update on my work.

First up, our amazing summer exhibition at the City Art Centre: Edinburgh Alphabet. If you haven’t been yet, there really is something for everyone- from social history to sculpture! The exhibition is on until 8 October.

Then there is the wonderful It’s Alive at the Museum of Childhood. An interactive exhibition of automata. My particular favourites are the cat and the rabbit in a cabbage…

…Although the Museum of the Mind is pretty amazing too:


Also opening soon at the Museum of Childhood: Let’s Go to a Place, an exhibition by Wendy McMurdo. The exhibition explores the relationships between children and digital media.

MOC McMurdo Young Girl (iv) (002)

The Museum of Edinburgh is hosting two exhibitions: A Tale on the Mile by photographer David Guillen and Musket Axe and Drum: The Town Guard at a time
of Unrest 1688-1817.

Soldier-Web (002)

2017 marks the 200th anniversary of the disbanding of the Edinburgh Town Guard and in the exhibition you can learn about crime and punishment in Edinburgh in the past.


For those who prefer their crime to be more contemporary (and fictional), the Writers’ Museum is hosting Rebus 30, an exhibition exploring the work of Ian Rankin.


You can also still visit the Crossings exhibition exploring the heritage of Leith at the People’s Story Museum or watch the dance films online.

In other news, I’m very excited to have been selected as a mentor for the Museums Association’s Mentoring for All programme. I have now taken part in a training day in Birmingham and I have had my first meeting with my mentee. I’ll blog a bit more about my experience as time goes on.  I’ve also been selected as a Trustee for the Social History Curators Group– very exciting!

I have also recently been working with a range of groups to offer activities. I’ve run reminiscence in a range of venues from the Western Infirmary to various care homes and day centres. I’ve run tours of Edinburgh Alphabet for the friends of the City Art Centre as well as giving curator’s tours on the Leith and Fishing sections of the exhibition. I’ve also been offering games activities in local libraries for the summer holidays.

I have also spent some time updating some of our loan and reminiscence boxes and I have completely redeveloped our Leisure and Going Out reminiscence box. If you would like to borrow one of our free resources, please contact me on 0131 529 6365 or

I did enjoy looking at some of the objects now included- such as these I Spy books:DSC_3146 (002)

As mentioned in my previous post, I’ve also been developing a new  programme for Art in the City for autumn 2017. If you  know of someone who is affected by dementia who may enjoy taking part, do ask them to contact me so I can add them to the mailing list.

More recently I’ve also working on a small touring version of the Proud City exhibition which will travel to local libraries. Watch this space for more information!

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Art in the City- new dates

The new autumn/ winter programme for Art in the City is now available (see below). All sessions are free and take place 10:30-12:00.

Art in the City provides an opportunity for people whose lives are affected by dementia and their friends, families and carers to share a gallery visit and discuss art (and other things) in a friendly and supportive environment.

Lizzie Farey, 'Folium', 85cm diameter, willow, 2017. Photography Warren Sanders (low res)

Lizzie Farey, Folium, willow, 2017. © the artist. Photography Warren Sanders

If you are interested in attending, please contact Diana Morton: or 0131 529 6365 to be added to the mailing list to receive the most up to date information.

Thurs 21 September Beyond Caravaggio Scottish National Gallery

The Mound, Edinburgh,


Thurs 19 October Museum Collections Centre (Museums & Galleries Edinburgh stores) Museum Collections Centre,

10 Broughton Market, Edinburgh


Thurs 9 November Songs for Winter City Art Centre,

2 Market Street,



Thurs 7 December The Palace of Holyrood House

There are limited spaces on this visit, so booking is essential. Please email:

The Palace of Holyrood House,

Canongate, Royal Mile,

Edinburgh EH8 8DX

Thurs 11 January Playfair and the City and A Fine Line City Art Centre,

2 Market Street,



Thurs 8 February Hidden Gems City Art Centre,

2 Market Street,



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Holiday activities in Oxgangs, Currie and Colinton libraries

Looking for family summer holiday activities? Would you like to try out some traditional games? Learn how to use a diabolo, whip and peerie and more.

There will be free drop-in games activities taking place on:

  • 12 July 2.30-3.30pm at Oxgangs Library
  • 18 July 1-2pm at Currie Library
  • 18 July 3-4pm at Colinton Library


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